"Trump: The Rusical"
RuPaul's Drag Race episode
Episode no.Season 11
Episode 4
Original air dateMarch 21, 2019 (2019-03-21)
Guest appearance(s)

"Trump: The Rusical" is the fourth episode of the eleventh season of the American reality competition television series RuPaul's Drag Race, which aired on VH1 on March 21, 2019. The episode has contestants deliver Rachel Maddow impressions for the mini challenge, and perform a musical parody of Grease about Donald Trump and the women in his life and cabinet for the main challenge. The musical features choreography by Yanis Marshall, and sees Donald Trump portrayed by former contestant Ginger Minj. Maddow appears as a special guest; Joel McHale and Tiffany Pollard serve as guest judges, alongside regular panelists RuPaul, Michelle Visage, and Ross Mathews.


Mini challenge

For the mini challenge, contestants deliver the news while impersonating Rachel Maddow (pictured in 2008).
For the mini challenge, contestants deliver the news while impersonating Rachel Maddow (pictured in 2008).

For the mini challenge ("Why You Maddow, Tho?"), contestants get into "quick drag" and deliver the news while impersonating Rachel Maddow, RuPaul's favorite television anchor. Maddow appears as a special guest and helps introduce the mini challenge. Contestants read fictional news from a teleprompter, some more successfully than others. RuPaul names Scarlet Envy the winner.

Main challenge

For the main challenge ("Trump: The Rusical"), contestants perform a lip sync musical parody of Grease (1971) about U.S. President Donald Trump and the women in his life and cabinet. The musical features choreography by Yanis Marshall, who provides instruction during the episode. As the winner of the mini challenge, Scarlet Envy assigns the following roles:

In the musical, Donald Trump is portrayed by former contestant Ginger Minj (pictured in 2018).
In the musical, Donald Trump is portrayed by former contestant Ginger Minj (pictured in 2018).

During preparations for the main challenge, Yvie Oddly reveals she has Ehlers–Danlos syndrome, type 3, a connective tissue disease,[1] Nina West describes being harassed during college in the wake of the murder of Matthew Shepard,[2] and Mercedes Iman Diamond (the first Muslim contestant on the show) addresses Islamophobia and explains her previous reluctance to discuss her religion on the show.[3] Silky Nutmeg Ganache also explains she is a registered Republican because of party gerrymandering and "gentrification and movement of the districts". She explains, "It's very important that people realize that if you want to stop that within the political process, get smarter than them. Register as a Republican, and they'll have to redo everything."[4]

The musical features former contestant Ginger Minj as Donald Trump. Ross Matthews also participates by interjecting a line from the judges panel at Ra'Jah O'Hara as Newman; Mathews and Newman competed on the first season of Celebrity Big Brother, a spin-off of the American reality television series Big Brother.


Joel McHale and Tiffany Pollard served as guest judges.

RuPaul introduces guest judges Joel McHale and Tiffany Pollard, and reveals the theme for the runway: "Orange Alert".[5] Most contestants wear orange-colored outfits. Shuga Cain's look is a parody of Trump. Her outfit is blue and resembles a business suit, but her face is colored orange. She eats Cheetos while walking the runway, rubs some of the Cheetos residue on her face, and gestures a "pussy grab", alluding to the Donald Trump Access Hollywood tape.

Scarlet Envy, Nina West, Ariel Versace, Plastique Tiara, Shuga Cain, and A'Keria C. Davenport are declared safe. RuPaul tells Scarlet she did a good job casting for the musical. Yvie Oddly, Silky Nutmeg Ganache, and Brooke Lynn Hytes receive positive feedback from the judges, while Ra'Jah O'Hara, Mercedes Iman Diamond, and Vanessa Vanjie Mateo receive negative critiques for their lack of performance in the musical. RuPaul names Silky Nutmeg Ganache the winner of the challenge. Mercedes Iman Diamond and Ra'Jah O'Hara are deemed the bottom two and lip sync battle to James Brown's "Living in America". RuPaul declares Ra'Jah O'Hara the winner of the lip sync battle, eliminating Mercedes Iman Diamond from the competition. Mercedes Iman Diamond ululates as she exits the stage.


Reception of the episode has been mixed. Bianca Guzzo of IN Magazine praised the episode, writing: "Honestly, this was one of the most entertaining Rusicals in the show's history. It beautifully combined political humour, with the essence of Grease, and Ginger Minj as Trump… what else could you want?"[6] Contrastingly, Joey Guerra of the Houston Chronicle said, "...aside from a Ginger Minj cameo as Trump, everyone else here is pretty BLAH. The musical just isn't very funny. It could have been some sort of bold political satire, but it falls flat and doesn't even go for easy jokes."[7] PinkNews' Charlie Jones was similarly critical, who wrote, "Drag Race deserves its dues for setting up camp in the middle of a minefield, but let’s not pretend it didn't get maimed. It also, however, produced some of the most inspiring, and horrifying, personal narratives seen on reality TV."[8]

Matt Rogers of Vulture.com said of the mini challenge, "I don't know whether Ru is an extra big fan of Maddow, or vice versa, but this challenge feels emblematic of what's off about the show right now. Maybe it's that it feels like it exists in an ultraprivileged bubble. Maybe it's the celebrity cameo that feels very 'we were able to do this and so we did, and we even focused a whole challenge around it.' Something specifically about Maddow's inclusion just made me roll my eyes."[9]

As of March 21, 2019, Trump had not responded to the episode.[10]

See also


  1. ^ Nolfi, Joey (March 21, 2019). "Yvie Oddly reveals tissue disorder affecting her skin in exclusive RuPaul's Drag Race clip". Entertainment Weekly. Meredith Corporation. ISSN 1049-0434. OCLC 21114137. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  2. ^ Blanton, Kayla (March 22, 2019). "Nina West's Story On 'Drag Race' Will Remind You Why The Show Exists". Bustle. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  3. ^ Street, Mikelle (March 21, 2019). "This Drag Race Season 11 Queen Just Got Real About Islamophobia". Out. Here Media. ISSN 1062-7928. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  4. ^ Henderson, Taylor (March 21, 2019). "A Drag Race Season 11 Queen Admits She's a Registered Republican". Pride.com. Here Media. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  5. ^ Kile, Meredith B. "'RuPaul's Drag Race' RuCap: A Trump Musical Has One Queen Seeing Orange". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  6. ^ Guzzo, Bianca (March 22, 2019). "RuPaul's Drag Race Season 11, Episode 4 Recap: Trump: The Rusical". IN Magazine. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  7. ^ Guerra, Joey (March 22, 2019). "'RuPaul's Drag Race' Season 11: Trump the Rusical". Houston Chronicle. Hearst Communications. ISSN 1074-7109. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  8. ^ Jones, Charlie (March 22, 2019). "RuPaul's Drag Race season 11 episode 4: The p***y is political". PinkNews. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  9. ^ Rogers, Matt (March 21, 2019). "RuPaul's Drag Race Recap: Make Season 11 Great Again". Vulture.com. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  10. ^ Parker, Lyndsey (March 21, 2019). "Make TV great again: 'RuPaul's Drag Race's' Trump-themed musical extravaganza". Yahoo! Finance. Retrieved March 23, 2019.